Review: The Boy with Fire

Rating: 3 out of 5.

*I received a copy from the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.*

In a world teetering on the edge of war, one man’s hunger for power might just doom them all. Yassen Knight was once a notorious assassin, now he’s on the run and his only ticket to freedom is defending the princess of Ravence. Elena is counting down the days she ascends the throne, but her inability to hold Fire threatens her crown. Leo isn’t ready to give the crown up yet, not when a looming prophecy threatens everything he holds dear. As the clock ticks till the coronation, the people of Ravence must prepare for change or fear seeing the land burn. 

What stood out about this book for me was the writing. I think Verma is a phenomenal writer. I really enjoyed how she writes, it’s rich and filled with details that make the world of Sayon come to life. She writes quite smoothly in a way that seems very experienced. There are too many good quotes from this book. I’m sure my Kindle copy is more highlights than plain lines. 

However, when I finished this book, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. The world-building is well done, and I enjoyed the universe Verma has formed. But I couldn’t seem to place where my disappointment lay, but I think, in the end, the characters themselves didn’t live up to the world they resided in. I feel like we really only got to understand the characters at a surface level.

Elena and Leo were interesting, and I liked the parallel between father and daughter as Leo struggles to make sure Elena will inherit a world worth fighting for, but fails to understand what is really best for his land. Yassen is introduced strong and I was prepared to adore him, but again there really isn’t any significant action aside from Leo’s chapters so much of the book is rather slow. It’s a constant cycle of being reminded that Elena can’t control her fire ability and Yassen is a former traitor. The book is advertised as “enemies to lovers,” but the energy between Elena and Yassen isn’t there. Elena is engaged in an arranged marriage between Samson, a friend of Yassen, and it feels like they had better chemistry. 

It’s been some time since I finished this book, and I still can’t figure out where I stand with it. Conceptually, its plot and characters should appeal to me but reading this book felt like a drag. Pitched as Dune meets The Poppy War, The Boy with Fire struggles to light a flame to its comp mates. The potential is there, and for another reader, it will be perfect, but the story barely made a mark for me.


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